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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Smile Please Advice!

    1) My town's name ... (is this wrong?)
    Should it be written as "The name of my town is..."

    2) Which is better, apple or orange? (is this wrong?)
    Should you put "s" at the back of apple and orange?
    Or it can be written as "Which is better, an apple or an orange?"

    Thanks!


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #2

    Re: Please Advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    1) My town's name ... (is this wrong?)
    Should it be written as "The name of my town is..."

    Either would work. The first is not wrong.

    2) Which is better, apple or orange? (is this wrong?)
    Should you put "s" at the [back] end of apple and orange?
    Or it can be written as "Which is better, an apple or an orange?"

    Thanks!
    It's not really a matter of right and wrong so much as whether it's idiomatic or not. For 2), when we mean a piece of fruit, we normally ask in the plural,

    Which is better, apples or oranges?

    It's possible to ask as you have,

    "Which is better [to you], an apple or an orange?"

    I can see 2) being used for an uncountable item like jam. A person holds up two jars of jam, one apple, one orange;

    Which is better, apple or orange?


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 1
    #3

    Re: Please Advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    It's not really a matter of right and wrong so much as whether it's idiomatic or not. For 2), when we mean a piece of fruit, we normally ask in the plural,

    Which is better, apples or oranges?

    It's possible to ask as you have,

    "Which is better [to you], an apple or an orange?"

    I can see 2) being used for an uncountable item like jam. A person holds up two jars of jam, one apple, one orange;

    Which is better, apple or orange?
    When I was learning English, my Engish teacher said that we should not put 's after a non-living thing such as "town". So for me, I would think that it's inappropriate to say "My town's name" and would prefer to say "The name of my town is..."


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #4

    Re: Please Advice!

    Unfortunately, the "rule" about possessives seems to have become an absolute for some teachers. There is no reason why non-living things cannot have a possessive 's:

    The river's banks are steep
    The ocean's waves are high
    The sky's colour is deep blue
    The tree's branches are strong
    The house's roof has blown off
    The book's cover is red and stained

    If you search the forums, you will find a number of discussions of this, all indicating that this "rule" is not a rule at all, but a guide line. Whether to use 's or of is more a matter of style and clarity.

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    #5

    Re: Please Advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    It's not really a matter of right and wrong so much as whether it's idiomatic or not. For 2), when we mean a piece of fruit, we normally ask in the plural,

    Which is better, apples or oranges?

    It's possible to ask as you have,

    "Which is better [to you], an apple or an orange?"

    I can see 2) being used for an uncountable item like jam. A person holds up two jars of jam, one apple, one orange;

    Which is better, apple or orange?
    I wonder Riverkid whether the difference between the genitive `s (Germanic) and the of construction (maybe Romance) is a question of animate and inanimate, practice or some other rules. For example a table is inanimate: can we really say the table's leg instead of the leg of the table. I also found out that when the possesser or the possession is a phrase no matter whether it is animate or inanimate the of construction is preferred: Following the directions of the instructor in blue..Time and place seem to take the 's:
    a month's salary
    at the baker's

    I am sure this topic has been dealt with but still confusing despite some general rules: can you really say the book of Tom? or the book's cover?

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